March 2018 Meeting – Saving and Restoring Historic Properties in Orange County – Spsaker: Don Krotee

4th Street Renovation

Preservation and adaptive reuse of Orange County’s wonderful historic commercial and public buildings is always a topic of interest for those who want to save and celebrate our county’s history.  We’re honored to feature long-time, local architect Don Krotee at our March meeting to speak about his work over the last 45 years in restoring and saving many historic properties in Santa Ana and other parts of Orange County.

Don and his company, the Don Krotee Partnership (DKP), usually do the entire planning and design work on projects – ensuring that it adheres to the Secretary of State requirements for National Register of Historic Places.  Sometimes this includes a real property easement around the front elevation of the building (later administering the sale of the easement to a Historic Trust).  In addition, they often coordinate the structural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical engineering of the project itself.

Over the years, their projects have included the Arcade, Fogelman, and Yanez buildings in central Santa Ana.  He’s also worked on the Musselman Block buildings, YMCA building, and Old OC Court House, among just a few.  Under Don’s guidance, DKP has provided architectural and engineering services on over 550 publicly-bid projects serving more than fifteen municipalities, and multiple school districts and college campuses.

Don is also a recognized artist in both watercolor and line drawings.  He’s had the opportunity to use his talents to show off the beauty of many of his historic projects.  Some of those will be shown as part of his presentation.

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, March 8th beginning at 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange. As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

Emigdio Vasquez, The Legacy of César Chávez (1997)

February 2018 Meeting – Emigdio Vasquez: Orange County Art Treasure – Speaker: Rosemary Vasquez Tuthill

Emigdio Vasquez, The Legacy of César Chávez (1997)
Emigdio Vasquez, The Legacy of César Chávez (1997)

Orange County artist and muralist Emigdio Vasquez created over 400 oil paintings and 32 murals in the cities of Orange, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Anaheim, Irvine, and Placentia.  At a young age, Emigdio began illustrating comic books and painting murals expressing his observations and studies. His paintings and murals evolved and primarily focused on working people, family, culture, and society.  He embodied his observations of the essence of everyday life and memorialized the Chicano working class struggle for survival and dignity.  Emigdio was often credited as the Godfather of Hispanic Art as a painter of reality and social commentary with universal themes, freezing a period of time which resonates even today.

Emigdio’s murals include the “Legacy of Cesar Chavez” at Santa Ana College and he was featured in a recent Getty-sponsored art show at Chapman University’s Guggenheim Museum which featured twenty of his paintings and his mural, “Proletariado de Azlan,” that is located on Chapman property.  Some of Emigdio’s murals were in excess of one hundred feet in length; and many of his murals can still be seen today.   Emigdio passed away several years ago, but his legacy lives on through his work and his children.

For the February meeting, his daughter, Rosemary Vasquez Tuthill, an oil painter and muralist in her own right, will present a video she and her husband created that highlights each of Emigdio’s murals.  In addition to answering questions, she will bring a few of her father’s artworks for audience viewing

The meeting will be held on Thursday, February 8th, beginning at 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.  As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

January 2018 Meeting – 1868, The Year that Made Orange County – Speaker: Phil Brigandi

Westminster 1886

The transition from Mexican ranchos to American communities came very quickly to the Santa Ana Valley. In fact, in just one year, 1868, most of central and northern Orange County all went on the market, as drought and debt forced the subdivision of the old ranchos.

In less than five years, half a dozen new towns were born, irrigation ditches dug, hundreds of farmers put the land to the plow, railroad surveyors were at work, and the drive had begun to create Orange County. Many of the cities we know today – Santa Ana, Orange, Tustin, Westminster, Garden Grove – were all born in that rush to subdivide and build, and the foundations were laid for Newport Beach, Placentia, Fountain Valley, and other communities. This sudden burst of population and prosperity set the stage for modern Orange County.

For our January meeting, historian Phil Brigandi will describe these momentous events, and discuss the different ways these towns were founded. Some began as real estate investments, pure and simple. Some were founded by men who dreamed of building a city. Some were organized as colonies, with settlers working together for the common good. And some of them just sort of happened as a growing population sought schools, stores, churches, and community.

The meeting will be held on Thursday, January 11th, beginning at 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.  As always, members and the general public are cordially invited to attend.

December 2017 Meeting – It’s Time to Show and Tell!

Show and Tell Evening is back by popular demand and will be the highlight of our December meeting once again. This is the program when members take center stage and share artifacts and treasures from their own collections.

Local history is best told by locals, and this is your chance to share the story of your personal connection to Orange County’s past. So clean out the attic and rummage through Granny’s trunk of treasures and show us what you’ve got!

There will be a sign up sheet when you arrive and participants will be called up one at a time. Everyone is looking forward to seeing and hearing about what you bring to share!

Come to share or just come to see what is shared.  As always, the general public is cordially invited to attend. The meeting will be held on Thursday, December 7 beginning at 7:30 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange

November 2017 Meeting – The History of Motels in the Golden State – Speaker: Heather M. David

Remember when a vacation stay meant an overnight escape to sparkling blue swimming pools, flashing neon signs, automatic ice machines and bleached white towels?  There was a time when these colorful road-side gems encircled Anaheim’s Disneyland and motels were more than just a place to check in for the night.

This month’s speaker is Heather M. David, a cultural historian and freelance writer. She is the author of the book “Mid-Century by the Bay” and numerous articles on American popular culture and historic preservation. She is an advocate for the preservation of mid-century architecture, art, and signage – with a focus on California Modernism.

Her latest book, “Motel California: A Pictorial History of Motels in the Golden State”, is the story of the rapid rise and subsequent decline of the individually owned mom-and-pop motel in The Golden State. Heather will have books available at the meeting for sale and signing.

Join us for a trip back to the days when Orange County’s roadside was a wonderland of colorful themed motels, restaurants, rooms, pools and signs.

Our meeting will be held on Thursday, November 9 beginning at 7:30 pm (back to our normal time) at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

Photo of Ruth Ann and Henry Segerstrom

October 2017 Meeting – The Segerstrom Family in Orange County – Speaker: Ruth Ann Moriarity

Photo of Ruth Ann and Henry Segerstrom
Photo of Ruth Ann and Henry Segerstrom

October is the traditionally the month of harvest, so it’s the perfect time to feature one of Orange County’s most important agricultural pioneering families: The Segerstroms. From lima bean fields to a luxury shopping destination, The Segerstrom family has left an indelible impression on local history.

This month, we are honored to have Segerstrom Family matriarch, Mrs. Ruth Ann Moriarity as our guest speaker.  Mrs. Moriarity is the only sibling of the late Henry Segerstrom, developer of  South Coast Plaza and generous patron of the arts.  Our meeting will be held on Thursday, October 12 beginning at 7 pm at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., Orange.

Photo of Henry Segerstrom in front of the South Coast Plaza sign in the early 1960s as construction had just begun.
Photo of Henry Segerstrom in front of the South Coast Plaza sign in the early 1960s as construction had just begun.

Born in Santa Ana in 1923, Mrs. Moriarity has witnessed many changes in Orange County. As family historian, she was the major contributor to this summer’s exhibit during South Coast Plaza’s 50th Anniversary celebration: “Segerstrom Pioneering Spirit: An American Dream”

Mrs. Moriarity will share her personal recollections and show rare images from her vast collection of family photographs.

Don’t miss this special opportunity to hear a first-person account of Orange County’s early days! As always, our general meeting is free and open to the public. Hope to see you there!

September 2017 Meeting – Newport Beach Historical Treasures at the Sherman Library – Speaker: Paul Wormser

The Sherman Library director Paul Wormser will present “Newport Beach Historical Treasures at the Sherman Library” at the Orange County Historical Society’s season kick-off program, Friday September 15th at Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Hwy, in Corona del Mar. (Note that due to calendar conflicts, the meeting day is Friday and not our normal Thursday.)

A social hour and optional potluck of appetizers and desserts will begin at 6:30 pm, followed by the program at 7:30 pm.  Members are especially invited to this annual OCHS gathering.  The event is also open to the public.  (Potluck food items are encouraged but not required.)

For more than fifty years, Sherman Library has sought to preserve the history of Newport Beach, a community that has gone from a sparsely populated beach town to a commercial center. The documentary history of the city is a testament to this transition.  Drawing upon Sherman Library’s extensive collections, of photographs, maps, postcards, documents and publications, Paul Wormser will share examples of items from Sherman Library’s collections to illustrate episodes in the history of Newport Beach.

Paul Wormser is the Library Director at Sherman Library & Gardens.  The Sherman Library is a non-profit research library, which holds an extensive collection of books and manuscripts related to the history of the Pacific Southwest.  Prior to working at Sherman Library, he worked for the National Archives for more than twenty years in a number of positions, including Archives Director for the National Archives’ Pacific Region, and Deputy Director of the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum. He has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in history from the University of California, Riverside.  He has been active in professional organizations, especially the Society of California Archivists, in which he has held a number of leadership positions, including President. He is currently a member of the California Historical Records Advisory Board, which acts as coordinating body for historical record activities statewide.

March 2017 Meeting – From Colony to Community: 150 Years of St. Boniface Church, Anaheim – Stephanie George

St. Boniface

Historian and archivist Stephanie George will present “From Colony to Community: 150 Years of St. Boniface Church, Anaheim,” at the March 9, 2017 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society (OCHS). The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

Often considered an intercity parish, St. Boni-face—located in down-town Anaheim—was once the only Catholic parish in all of what’s now Orange County. From its beginnings, it’s been the worship community of regional and nationally-recognized individuals, provocateurs, immigrants, the devout, and the profane.

This presentation traces the roots of the parish through modern times within the context of Orange County history, including its relationship with Rancho Cañón de Santa Ana and early city pioneers Theodore Rimpau and Augustus Langenberger, its shifting ethnic profile, the influ-ence of culture and Church tradition on its members, music, architecture, and practices, and its impact on and in the city of Anaheim and surrounding communities.

Stephanie George is Secretary of the OCHS, a local historian and author, and is the Special Collections and Archives Librarian at Chapman University’s Frank Mt. Pleasant Library of Special Collections and Archives. Many also know her for her fourteen years at California State University, Fullerton and the Center for Oral and Public History.

She is a member of many local, regional, and national organizations, including the Society of American Archivists, Society of California Archivists, American Association for State and Local History, American Library Association, and the Historical Society of Southern California; and serves on the board of the California Council for the Promotion of History.
By researching and writing about local history, she’s curated several award-winning exhibits, published Sowing Dreams, Cultivating Lives: Nikkei Farmers in Pre-World War II Orange County, and has written several articles about Orange County events. When she’s not involved in Orange County history, she’s a passionate genealogist and traveler.

February 2017 Meeting – Nixon’s New and Improved Museum – Speaker: Jason Schultz

The museum at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library just underwent a $15-million renovation of the permanent galleries. This is the first large-scale renovation since opening as a privately operated institution in 1990. Supervisory Archivist Jason Schultz will discuss this new, highly interactive, thematic, and immersive museum at the next meeting of the Orange County Historical Society. The program will be held Feb. 9, 2017, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange. This event is open to the public at no charge.

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum is one of 14 Presidential Libraries operated by National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In addition to the exhibit spaces, the President’s birthplace, and the helicopter, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library is home to 46 million pages of textual materials, hundreds of thousands of photographs, and thousands of hours of audio and video recordings.

Richard Milhous Nixon – one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of the 20th Century – was born January 9, 1913, in the small town of Yorba Linda. Today, the area’s rolling hills, unassuming downtown, occasional patches of open land, and tinges of rural roots remind us of the agricultural Orange County of Nixon’s youth. Nixon’s favorite items are still marked on the menus of local Mexican restaurants, and surfers still point out the old “Western White House” in San Clemente. And of course, the Nixon Library is the primary place where researchers and the general public come to better understand the 37th President of the United States. However you may feel about him, Nixon’s imprint on Orange County is everywhere.

Also born and raised in Orange County, our speaker, Jason Schultz wanted to be an archivist after learning as a teenager of the existence of the Walt Disney Archives. After working in Disneyland Guest Relations while majoring in History at the University of California, Irvine, Jason co-authored several books about Disneyland. He joined NARA while a student at the University of Maryland, earning master’s degrees in History and Library & Information Science.

In 2009 he transferred to the Nixon Library in College Park, Maryland, as an archivist, overseeing the details of moving 26,000 boxes of Nixon Presidential Materials across the country. Jason returned to Orange County in 2010 and was promoted to Supervisory Archivist in July 2014.

We hope you’ll join us for fascinating look at the transformation of one of Orange County’s most important historical institutions.

January 2017 Meeting – Whaling Along The Orange County Coast – Speaker: Bob Minty

Nautical historian Bob Minty will discuss whaling off the coast of Orange County in his presentation, “19th Century Legends: Whalers, Scrimshanders, and California Shore Whaling” at the Jan. 12, 2017 meeting of the Orange County Historical Society, 7:30 p.m., at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2400 N. Canal St., in Orange.

“There is slight mention in our California public schools on the economic and social importance of California’s Whaling Industry during the 19th and 20th centuries,” says Minty. “Instead, we learn romantic tales of the life of the sailor and accounts of barbarous whalers that ransacked our seas.”

Minty plans to provide a clearer picture of this historic industry and scotch a variety of misconceptions and myths about the “Romance of the Sea.” Attendees will also learn…
• How folk art sheds light on the lives and mental make-up of whalers
• The connection between Richard Nixon and the original Nantucket whalers
• How Orange County played a key role in our nation’s whaling industry
• What whales, legislation, and Conquistador Hernán Cortés have in common

Bob Minty

The program will conclude with the film clip “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” from Elmer Clifton’s 1922 silent film, “Down to the Sea in Ships,” filmed on the 19th century whaleship, Charles W. Morgan, out of New Bedford.

Bob Minty is the Program Chair of the Dana Point Historical Society, and has been a member of Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano “living history” groups – portraying Richard Henry Dana, Jr. – for more than twenty years.

For the past several years Bob has also prepared exhibits and lectures for the Ocean Institute on the history of California shore whaling and scrimshaw. His next scheduled exhibits will be held in March at the Dana Point Festival of Whales and in September at the Dana Point Tall Ships Festival.